Being Grateful Even When It’s Hard
Why should you start a gratitude journal?
Sometimes life is overwhelming and negative thoughts can cloud our vantage point. In fact, negative thoughts can persist so much that you can lose sight of the good that is in your life. Whether you are grieving or recovering from a health crisis, taking some time to focus on what you are grateful for can help counteract persistent negative thoughts. Keeping a gratitude journal allows us to remember and reflect on positive things in our lives and helps foster a deeper appreciation them. Researchers have found that keeping a gratitude journal can result in a more positive attitude, optimism for the future, better sleep and a positive impact on happiness.
How To Start:
- Once you get your hands on a journal, designate a time for writing. Commit to a schedule for journaling that works for you, whether it’s writing a couple times a week or once a week. Stick to the schedule you pick so the gratitude journal becomes part of your routine.
- Some people like to give themselves a minimum number of things to write about, but don’t feel the need to restrict yourself. This exercise is all about you, so do what you feel comfortable with.
- Be specific and elaborate. Rather than writing “I’m grateful for my friend,” try adding details like, “I’m grateful for my friend who gave me a ride home from work when my car wouldn’t start.” Details help when reflecting back.
- You don’t need to write about something grand every time. The small things are important too.
Five Helpful Tips:
- Don’t feel like you have to limit yourself to just writing. Do you enjoy doodling? Add doodles to your writing. Do you like scrapbooking? Add pictures to your entries. Not a fan of all that? It’s perfectly fine to just write. Do what works for you.
- Avoid going through the motions. If you want the benefits of a gratitude journal, try to be genuine when writing.
- It’s perfectly fine to repeat things, but try to focus on a different aspect than what you wrote before.
- Dive deeper than surface level and get personal. Try to avoid focusing on materialistic things and instead focus on the people, events and relationships in your life.
- It’s better to write a couple times a week than every day, so don’t overdo it. Researcher have found that journaling 2-3 times a week is more effective than journaling every day.
Pay attention to the good that’s happening in your life.